It appears that Ryan Karnopp is ahead of schedule.
Sophomore Karnopp (Tunkhannock) kicked off the season with the Moravian College indoor track team by finishing third in the pole vault at Lehigh’s Fast Times meet in December. His 14-foot, 7-inch effort was a personal record indoors and almost matched his 14-9 performance last spring outdoors.
When track coach Jesse Baumann recruited Karnopp, they talked about his making it to the NCAA Championships.
“Initially we had thought that he’d do that by his junior year, but with how he opened up the season and how good some of his jumps looked from a short approach at 15-1, we’re starting to think that the NCAAs this year may not be out of the question,” Baumann said.
Karnopp finished second in the Landmark Conference last season both indoors and outdoors, and also earned a bid to the ECAC Division III Championships outdoors.
“We expect him to make both ECAC meets this year,” Baumann said. “Generally, our goal is for an athlete to achieve their best marks from last season by the middle of the indoor season and then progress from there. For all intents and purposes, Ryan is already there with the first meet so that’s an extremely encouraging sign for the upcoming season.”
Karnopp played soccer as a freshman but he did not this fall. Instead, he got an early start on sprint technique and work on the runway. It was his idea and is has paid off thus far.
The Greyhounds return to the track Saturday, Jan. 24, at the Muhlenberg Invitational.
SZPYNDA’S TOP-RANKED – Widener senior Erica Szpynda (Berwick) is the top female shut putter in Division III, according to the latest statistics. She won the Jack Pyrah Invitational at Villanova with a throw of 44 feet (13.41 meters).
“Erica just missed becoming an All-American last year by just one centimeter,” coach Kevin Cunningham said. “Her goal for this year is to become an All-American. She also wants to be an Academic All-American.”
Szpynda has a busy schedule with track, academics and being Widener’s student government president. She has managed to juggle it all and still maintain a 3.971 grade point average as an economics and accounting major.
“Erica is a determined woman with a chip on her shoulder. I have full confidence she will do everything in her power to accomplish the goals she has set out for herself,” Cunningham said.
The Pride will host the Widener Dual Meet on Saturday in Chester.
ALEXIS HOT STREAK ENDS – Philadelphia University sophomore Peter Alexis (Holy Redeemer), bothered by foul trouble, was held to nine points and six rebounds in an 86-53 loss to Holy Family last Saturday night.
But prior to that, the 6-foot-10, 255-pound forward had four big games in a row, all victories for the Rams, who are 11-5 overall and 5-2 in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.
He started the streak with 22 points against St. Rose and 25 points against St. Anselm. Then he had 17 points against Pace and 21 against Wilmington. He’s been held under 10 points in just two of 16 games.
“Peter’s play has become consistently better,” coach Herb Magee said. “He is still receiving double teams, but is learning to kick the ball out to open jump shooters.”
Alexis leads the team in scoring (18.9) and rebounding (9.9). He also has 20 blocked shots.
GOOD START FOR LAGOSKI – Freshman Elena Lagoski (Wyoming Valley West and Northeast Gymnastics) tied for first in the floor exercise (9.9) and tied for second in the vault (9.775) but her Michigan State women’s gymnastics team dropped a season-opening 195.352-194-150 decision to Illinois last Friday in East Lansing, Mich.
“Elena is a very strong gymnast and will be competing in vault and floor on a regular basis,” coach Aimee Dulebohn said. “She has a great Yurchencko full vault and will vie for the top score on this event. And, she excels on the floor exercise with a high degree of difficulty in her tumbling and beautiful lines in her dance.”
The beam gives the freshman the most trouble according to the coach.
“Elena is a solid beam worker but her nervousness shows most on this event,” Dulebohn said. “She is striving to control those nerves and when she does, she will be a huge asset to the beam lineup.
The Spartans return to action with a home meet against Pittsburgh on Saturday.
DISTASIO COMPETING – Redshirt freshman Destiny Distasio (Tunkhannock) opened the indoor track season for the Kutztown women’s team by finishing eighth in the pole vault (10-4) and 11th in the 60 meters (8.09) at Bucknell’s Bison Opener in Lewisburg. The meet was made up mainly of Division I athletes.
“Destiny didn’t compete last season but she has already qualified for the PSAC Championships in the pole vault in her first meet,” coach Ray Hoffman said.
Kutztown will host the Golden Bears Invitational on Thursday.
GOOD START FOR D’ELISIO – Freshman Ron D’Elisio (Pittston Area) was a member of the East Stroudsburg 1,600 relay, which kicked off the indoor track season by finishing first at the Lehigh Fast Times meet in December in Bethlehem. Their time was 3:25.13. He also finished seventh in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.72.
“Ron’s got a very bright future and is a great addition to our team,” coach Joe Koch said.
Freshman Alex Zubko (Dallas) is also on the squad but didn’t compete in the first meet.
“Alex just finished cross country and was very successful,” Koch said. “We expect him to experience the same success in track.”
Zubko has no problem in the class room. He posted a 4.0 GPA the first semester.
The Warriors are at Kutztown on Thursday.
BLACK, DAMIANI COMPETE – Penn State junior Shelley Black (Coughlin) and redshirt sophomore Thomas Damiani (Tunkhannock) competed for the Nittany Lions in the season-opening Penn State Relays last Saturday in State College.
Black finished third in the 60-meter hurdles (8:55) and helped the women’s 1,600 relay finish second with a time of 3:43.65. Damiani ran a leg on the men’s winning 3,200 relay, which covered the distance in 7:36.59.
Both are expected to compete in the Nittany Lion Challenge on Saturday.